Relations internationales

C17(c) - IAPSS (International Association for Political Science Students) - Digital Methods in Political Science Research

Date: Jun 14 | Heure: 10:15am to 11:45am | Salle:

Chair/Président/Présidente : Piers Eaton (University of Ottawa)

Discussant/Commentateur/Commentatrice : Justin Patrick (University of Toronto)

The fast-paced technological advancements create new opportunities and challenges for scholars. The ongoing paradigm shift in academia is prompting new ideas and approaches in political science research. Novel digital methods have the potential to supplement or even replace the traditional methods in political science research. However, there are still challenges associated with employing digital methods, like the quality and access to online data, consideration of ethical standards, and the appropriate uses of Artificial Intelligence (AI). It is evident that the impact and impact of digital methods on the field is multifaceted, and diverse theoretical and methodological perspectives are required to better understand what the future will look like for the political science discipline.

The papers presented in this panel will delve into key themes such as the transformation of political forecasting through digital research methods, the role of artificial intelligence in reshaping international relations analysis, and the capturing the public opinion in the digital age. Each paper contributes to the overarching narrative of how technology is redefining political science research practices. The presented papers will explore various dimensions, from the methodological challenges and opportunities posed by digital tools to the broader impact on the quality of political science scholarship. This panel is primarily targeted at graduate students and junior scholars.

Policy Forecasting in Political Science Research: Introduction to Digital Research Methods.: Lloyd George Banda (Stellenbosch University)
Abstract: In a 2022 publication that appeared in the International Journal of Forecasting published by Elsevier, a total of 80 researchers representing 72 affiliations teamed up in a single paper to emphasize the need for every social scientist, at least, to use digital information to conduct forecasting. Forecasting has always been at the forefront of decision-making and planning but hugely missing in mainstream political science. Except in public policy discourse, most studies, digital econometric or otherwise statistical research alike, are policy appended. The importance of statistical research continues to rise, for example, backed by the increased accuracy of prediction of election results worldwide. Political scientists have to know the basics of forecasting political phenomena. This study introduces individual and aggregated data sources and the use thereof in forecasting using non-complex statistical approaches. The study highlights how digital research in political science can make sense of publicly available data from global research tanks without deploying complex econometric or statistical models. The paper aims to contribute to policy forecasting in policy science discourse and other political science fields.

Brokerage Politics, Catch-all Parties, and Canada’s Contemporary Political Parties: Colby Gauthier (University of Manitoba)
Abstract: In Canada, the term "brokerage party" is colloquially used to describe the two largest contemporary parties, the CPC and the LPC. Authors in Canadian politics have done work in determining the defining characteristics of not only "brokerage parties", but the closely related term, "catch-all parties". One of the most prominent academics in the study of party politics, Dr. R.K. Carty, made the case in 2013 that the Canadian parties have been at best catch-all parties that have used brokerage politics in their past. In this research, I go even further to analyze today's parties using a slightly modified version of Carty's definition model and suggest that they do not make very good catch-all parties either. I examine the parties by observing party/leadership behaviour, campaigning, and policies. The paper provides us with a contemporary analysis of party politics in Canada and coins two terms, "brokerage moments," a concept that better describes moments in time when political parties who do not fit the definition of a brokerage party engage in brokerage politics and the term, “quasi catch-all party,” a concept that better describes the politics of today’s CPC and LPC. All of this work supports further research into the ever-changing nature of Canadian politics and political parties.

Digital Dynamics: Unveiling Public Opinion in the Era of Transformation: Jhonatan Rafael Poppe Tamayo (Universidad Privada Boliviana)
Abstract: This paper examines the transformative impact of digital methods on political research, focusing on mapping public opinion. Online interactions, vital to political discourse, offer a unique perspective through methods like big data analysis and social media opinion mining. The paper assesses their efficacy in capturing opinion complexity, illustrating how they unveil thought patterns, identify trends, and inform policy formulation. The study also explores the link between online citizen participation and diverse opinion representation, and their role shaping political agendas. The paper advocates for integration of digital methods into political research, recognizing their capacity to enhance informed decision-making and foster inclusive citizen participation.